Why Animation Is A Good Career
There are already a slew of articles and forum posts out there about whether animation as a career is worth getting into. A lot of these are a bit pessimistic, playing up the image of an animator as a soulless husk of a human, churning out their work long into the night with no social life or time for other hobbies.
Yes it’s competitive and yes you have to put in a bit of graft but we’re starting to think that these other posts are just trying to shoo people away from animation for some reason. Perhaps they want to keep it to themselves? Regardless, we think animation is pretty great and we’re not afraid to say it! So here are a few of the reasons our animators think animation is a good career.
Researching new topics is fun
From project to project, animators are often faced with the challenge of animating something they’ve never been confronted with before. So a project calls for you to animate a monkey – we’ve all seen a box of Coco Pops, but how do you bring that thing alive in a believable way?
Google is an animator’s best friend: jump online and research their behaviour, body language, expressions, anatomy, everything you need to know in order to animate it. Before you know it, you’re a monkey expert. Great for a bit of variety in the studio, not so great when your friends get sick of you talking about monkeys.
You’re always learning
Yes, the research aspect of being an animator is fun and varied but you also get to learn about your craft with every new project you take on. For smaller studios where everyone has their finger in multiple animation pies, you’re learning rigging, lighting, design, storyboarding and other vital abilities that go into making a video happen. Not only this, you should be improving with every task, too.
Forget scrutinising graphs and poring over quarterly sales reports to discover if you’re improving and your effort is actually making a difference; animation means you get to take on new challenges and actually see your progress in a very tangible way.
Nothing beats bringing a character to life
Here at Fudge, we’re not a massive team, which is great for a few reasons. Namely, when we go on a coffee run it’s not a total nightmare. Also, everyone gets involved in each of our projects from the very start of their creation. Our animators play a part in the initial ideas, concepts and goals of our projects – all the elements that contribute towards the design process.
From the early scribbles of storyboarding and character design all the way up until you’re putting the finishing textures on a moving, breathing, thinking character, our animators have skin in the game. This is a level of satisfaction and immersion in a project which you don’t normally have the chance the achieve in other fields. You get to really nurture your creations as their character traits, motivations and motifs take shape before your eyes over the span of weeks.
You get to show off to the world
A finished animation is a direct representation of the standard of work that you have the ability to produce. Since there’s always the opportunity to get your work seen by many people, the temptation to show off is a great source of motivation and just makes you want to get better and better.
Combine this with the amazing animation community out there who are willing to critique and share your work, and you have a deeply rewarding group with which you can learn, collaborate and network. Ahem, like @fudgeanimation and facebook.com/fudgeanimation for example…
You get the chance to work with constantly evolving tech
This is true for many professions, but with animation, your creativity and imagination are being constantly challenged, yet enabled, by technological advancements in a really inspiring way.
Sure, unless you’re a big animation boffin (and there’s nothing wrong with that), the latest edition of Blender or a new Wacom tablet aren’t necessarily going to rock your world, but take virtual reality and augmented reality, for example.
Considering how your animations can be seen and interacted with in a fully immersive 3D space should make you feel like you’re living in the future! We do, anyway. Animation gives you the chance to work with the most exciting, emergent tech in a creative way – what other profession can boast of that?
For a bit more on animation’s place in VR, check out Charlie’s take on what VR means for the future here.
It’s a growing field and in high demand
As you’ve probably gathered by now, we think animation is a pretty awesome career choice, and we’re not the only ones: it’s never been a more popular way to get your message across.
The ways you can approach animation are myriad. You can go freelance which, as the name suggests, provides you with more freedom and flexibility, or you can try to join a studio for the job security and the support/progression structure that it provides.
You can go into corporate animation which is always in high demand and usually pays well. You can lean into animation for education, which is interesting and inspiring. Or you can shoot for the stars with an animation career in the entertainment industry, helping to make the next big animated feature film or AAA video game.
As hardworking animators and the studios that hire them continue to defy what we thought possible in animation, the demand for quality, memorable and inspiring animated works grows and grows. It’s an exciting, ever-changing industry to be a part of, so hold your nose and dive in!
Feeling inspired? Take a peek and our Top 10 Tips for Freelancers for a great checklist of stuff you need to get done to give yourself the best shot at getting animation work. Want some tips straight from the horse’s mouth? Give us a shout @fudgeanimation on Twitter or facebook.com/fudgeanimation on Facebook, Cheers!